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The intensity of this revival of profane studies, and the new prestige which they enjoyed, might be illustrated by the suspicious attitude of a monk like the Patriarch Ignatius towards secular learning. But the suspicion which prevailed in certain ecclesiastical or monastic circles is violently expressed in a venomous attack upon Leo the Philosopher after his death by one Constantine, a former pupil, who had discovered the wickedness of Hellenic culture. The attack is couched in elegiacs, and he confesses that he owed his ability to write them to the instruction of Leo:
I, Constantine, these verses wrought with skill,
He accuses his master of apostasy to Hellenism, of rejecting Christ, of worshipping the ancient gods of Greece:
Teacher of countless arts, in worldly lore
The peer of all the proud wise men of yore,
The shining glory of the Christian rite
With its fair lustrous waters, the awful might
Who would not pity and make moan for thee?
Then a chorus of good Christians is invited to address the
Euclid vi. def. 5. See J. L. Heiberg, Der byz. Mathematiker Leon, Bibliotheca mathematica, i. 2, 34 sqq. (1887), where attention is also drawn to a note at the end of the Florentine MS. of the treatise of Archimedes on the Quadrature of the Parabola : εὐτυχοίης, Λέον γεωμέτρα, πολλοὺς εἰς λυκάβαντας ἴοις πολὺ φίλτατε Μούσαις. Leo is to be distinguished from Leo Magister, a diplomatist in the reign of Leo VI.; cp. de Boor, B.Z. 10, 63.
1 Printed with the works of Leo VI. (surnamed ỏ σopós and hence confused with the Philosopher) in Migne, 107,
c. lxi. sqq.
2 See below, p. 441, n. 4. Leo had two pupils named Constantine—the Slavonic apostle (see above, p. 394) and the Sicilian. The latter is doubtless the pupil in question. He wrote good Anacreontics (conveniently accessible in Bergk's Poetae Lyrici Graeci, ed. 4, 348 sqq.). The ᾠδάριον ἐρωτικόν (351 sqq.) is pleasing. It begins:
ποταμοῦ μέσον κατεῖδον
apostate who had made Zeus his divinity, in the following strain:
Go to the house of gloom, yea down to hell,
In the fell plain of Tartarus, all undone.
Plato and Aristotle, Euclid dear,
Proclus,1 and Ptolemy the Astronomer,2
Aratus, Hesiod, and Homer too
Whose Muse is queen, in sooth, of all that crew.3
The satire was circulated, and evoked severe criticism. The author was sharply attacked for impiety towards his master, and some alleged that he was instigated by Leo's enemies to calumniate the memory of the philosopher. Constantine replied to these reproaches in an iambic effusion.* He does not retract or mitigate his harsh judgment on Leo, but complacently describes himself as "the parricide of an impious master-even if the pagans (Hellenes) should burst with spite." His apology consists in appealing to Christ, as the sole fountain of truth, and imprecating curses on all heretics and unbelievers. The spirit of the verses directed against Hellenists may be rendered thus:
Foul fare they, who the gods adore
Some squinted hideously enow.
Among some epigrams ascribed to Leo, one is in praise of Proclus and the mathematician Theon.
2 καὶ Πτολεμαστρονόμους.
3 This homage to Homer is not ironical. It is a genuine though ambiguous tribute.
4 Migne, ib. 660 sq. The poem is here described (after Matranga, from whose Anecdota Graeca, vol. ii., it is reprinted) as an Apology of Leo the Philosopher, vindicating himself against the calumnies of Constantine. This
is an extraordinary error, which, so far as I know, has not been hitherto pointed out. The opening lines state that the author was reviled for having accused his master Leo of apostasy. We learn from 1. 14 that Leo was dead when Constantine published his attack. (I may note that in 1. 25 éžiéμevos should be corrected to ἐξιώμενος).
ὁ πατροραίστης δυσσεβοῦς διδασκάλου, κἂν εἰ διαρραγεῖεν Ἕλληνες μέσον μανέντες ἐν λόγοισι Τελχίνων μέτα.
The sentiment is quite in the vein of the early Fathers of the Church; but it would not have displeased Xenophanes or Plato, and the most enthusiastic Hellenist could afford to smile at a display of such blunt weapons. The interest of the episode lies in the illustration which it furnishes of the vitality of secular learning ( Oúpalev σopía) in the ninth century. Though the charges which the fanatic brings against Leo may be exaggerations, they establish the fact that he was entirely preoccupied by science and philosophy and unconcerned about Christian dogma. The appearance of a man of this type is in itself significant. If we consider that the
study of the Greek classics was a permanent feature of the Byzantine world and was not generally held to clash with orthodox piety, the circumstance that in this period the apprehensions of fanatical or narrow-minded people were excited against the dangers of profane studies confirms in a striking way our other evidence that there was a genuine revival of higher education and a new birth of enthusiasm for secular knowledge. Would that it were possible to speak of any real danger, from science and learning, to the prevailing superstitions! Danger there was none. Photius, not Leo, was the typical Byzantine savant, uniting ardent devotion to learning with no less ardent zeal for the orthodox faith.
Another sign of the revival of secular studies is the impression which some of their chief exponents made on the popular imagination-preserved in the stories that were told of Leo, of John the Patriarch, and of Photius. It was said that when Leo1 was archbishop of Thessalonica the crops failed and there was a distressing dearth. Leo told the people not to be discouraged. By making an astronomical calculation he discovered at what time benignant and sympathetic influences would descend from the sky to the earth, and directed the husbandmen to sow their seed accordingly. They were amazed and gratified by the plenteousness of the ensuing harvest. If the chronicler, who tells the tale, perfunctorily observes that the result was due to prayer and not to the
1 That Leo was actually interested in the arts of discovering future events may be argued from the attribution to him of a μέθοδος προγνωστικὴ τοῦ ἁγίου εὐαγγελίου ἢ τοῦ ψαλτηρίου (Krum
bacher, G.B.L. 631) and of a fragmentary astrological treatise on Eclipses (published in Hermes, 8, 174 sqq., 1874), which is evidently copied from a work dating from the pre-Saracenic period.
vain science of the archbishop, it is clear that he was not unimpressed.
But Leo the astrologer escaped more easily than his kinsman John the Grammarian-the iconoclast Patriarchwho was believed to be a wicked and powerful magician.1 His brother, the patrician Arsaber, had a suburban house on the Bosphorus, near its issue from the Euxine, a large and rich mansion, with porticoes, baths, and cisterns. Here the Patriarch used constantly to stay, and he constructed a subterranean chamber accessible by a small door and a long staircase. In this "cave of Trophonius" he pursued his nefarious practices, necromancy, inspection of livers, and other methods of sorcery. Nuns were his accomplices, perhaps his
mediums" in this den, and scandal said that time was spared for indulgence in forbidden pleasures as well as for the pursuit of forbidden knowledge. An interesting legend concerning his black magic is related. An enemy, under three redoubtable leaders, was molesting and harassing the Empire.2 Theophilus, unable to repel them, was in despair, when John came to the rescue by his magic art. A threeheaded statue was made under his direction and placed among the statues of bronze which adorned the euripos in the Hippodrome. Three men of immense physical strength, furnished with huge iron hammers, were stationed by the statue in the dark hours of the night, and instructed, at a given sign, simultaneously to raise their hammers and smite off the heads. John, concealing his identity under the disguise of a layman, recited a magical incantation which translated the vital strength of the three foemen into the statue, and then ordered the
men to strike. They struck;
Móyo transferred to the statue the δύναμις of the leaders ἢ μᾶλλον (to speak more accurately) τὴν οὖσαν πρότερον ἐν τῷ ἀνδριάντι [δύναμιν] καταβαλὼν ἐκ τῆς τῶν στοιχειωσάντων δυνάμεως (which seems to imply that the image had been constructed out of an old statue which had been originally στοιχειωθέν). This operation is illustrated by an occurrence in the reign of Romanus I. An astronomer told the Emperor to cut off the head of a statue which was above the vault of the Xerolophos and faced towards the west, in order to procure the death
two heads fell to the ground; but the third blow was less forceful, and bent the head without severing it. The event corresponded to the performance of the rite. The hostile leaders fell out among themselves; two were slain by the third, who was wounded, but survived; and the enemy retreated from the Roman borders.
That John practised arts of divination, in which all the world believed, we need no more doubt than that Leo used his astronomical knowledge for the purpose of reading the secrets of the future in the stars. It was the medieval habit to associate scientific learning with supernatural powers and perilous knowledge, and in every man of science to see a magician. But the vulgar mind had some reason for this opinion, as it is probable that the greater number of the few men who devoted themselves to scientific research did not disdain to study occult lore and the arts of prognostication. In the case of John, his practices, encouraged perhaps by the Emperor's curiosity, furnished a welcome ground of calumny to the image-worshippers who detested him. The learning of Photius also gave rise to legends which were even more damaging and had a far more slender foundation. It was
of the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon, aur
which Meleager's life depended on a